Thursday, May 19, 2011

ugly head

when we talk about a drug problem, what usually comes to mind are images of intravenous users in back alleys, air passengers stuffing contraband into hidden compartments & every known orifice, or patrons high on "ice" in a club.
we all know the problem permeates much wider & deeper than that.

i still remember vividly when i was on-call one evening while training at a teaching hospital. we were considered junior doctors then & were searching high & low for the lecturer-on-call to help us handle a particularly difficult case. despite repeated calls on the phone, pagers (there were no handphones then) & PA system, he was nowhere to be found.

then someone finally located him, on the toilet floor, groaning & frothing at the mouth. found nearby was a used syringe. empty.

to cut the story short, he had been injecting himself with painkillers & this time, he overdosed. he was immediately admitted to the ICU & subsequently recovered. my boss, to his credit, kept things under wraps - told the offender to take medical leave & on completion of his expatriate contract, to return home. the hospital was not informed the real story behind this episode.

later, after i had left the hospital, i was told one of my junior colleagues did the same thing. he was then asked to leave post-grad training.

at another hospital where i worked in UK, i  found out 9 years later that one of my peers had been doing the same thing when we were in the same department. he had been depressed because he couldn't pass his post-grad exams. in the end, he also left training & ended up a GP.

so, i know a senior, a colleague & a junior who had abused drugs. well, surprise, surprise, the ugly head has reared again.

now, a male nurse i used to work with had been found to falsify entries in a drug record book, including creating fictitious patients to obtain the pain-killers. doesn't matter if it's for personal use or worse, for resale; he will be punished, subject to an internal inquiry. his HOD is obviously not as gracious as my ex-boss, which is why the misdeed is the talk of the local medical fraternity.

and unless he can pull cable or divine intervention intercedes, his career as a nurse is as good as over. which is a real pity because he has shown such good promise as a capable & competent paramedic.


reanaclaire said...

Some resort to drugs due to pressure in their studies, work... not necessary mixing with the wrong company.. yeah...

house-tai said...

curious to know, what do ppl without any real physical pain intend to achieve from the injections of these pain killers? do they experience a 'high' or something like that?

wenn said...

pain killer kills actually..

Yvonne Foong said...

A pity on the offender but a waste of public resources too.

doc said...


people take drugs for a variety of reasons, but the path is still downhill after that.

doc said...


it's the very reason that these painkiller give a "high" that people take them to get away from the real world. unfortunately, it's addictive, & therein, lies the downfall.

doc said...


that's one way of looking at it.

it kills the person's personality & character, & eventually the physical self.

doc said...


i suppose that's why drugs are a big problem.

missyc said...

PainKiller ... to kill pain ? didn't give me any High 5 for sure!

I've been prescribed various painkillers like being given candies, plenty of leftovers & dunno what to do with it. maybe useful oneday for the deadliest cocktail mix :(

doc said...


you won't get a high if you're in a lot of pain or if you've developed tolerance to the painkiller.

and, if you've developed tolerance, it's unlikely to be deadly to you.

Unicorn Girl said...

Doc , any reason as to why they resort to things like this despite them being in the medical field & well aware of the consequences ?

doc said...


being in medical line exposes one to this temptation. most people resist.